TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 18TH, 2022

A Mercer County man will spend the next 7 years in prison after he was convicted of distributing child porn. 26 year old Alex Rogan-Laird, of Greenville, plead guilty in federal court to have distributed videos and photos of minors to an undercover FBI agent in March of 2020. A further investigation by the FBI found Rogan-Laird in possession of thousands of sexually explicit videos and pictures depicting children. After his 7 year prison sentence, Rogan-Laird will spend another 7 years’ under supervised release.

– A Butler County woman and her two dogs are safe after being rescued from floodwaters in Slippery Rock Township.  Fire officials say the woman was on a hiking trail when a nearby ice dam break caused rapid flooding.  Crews used boats to reach the woman who was stranded on a section of ground above rising water.  The woman and her dogs were rescued without any injuries.

State health officials say the COVID case rate is down 93 percent. However, the daily rate is still higher than last year, despite an 87 percent drop. The Pennsylvania Department of Health says the 23-thousand cases recorded over the past seven days equate to a daily average of nearly 33-hundred.  To date, there have been two-point-73 million infections statewide since the pandemic began.

State officials say nearly 15-thousand applications have been sent in to a debt-relief program for Pennsylvania-licensed nurses. Funding for the Student Loan Relief for Nurses program comes from the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan dollars and offers up to 75-hundred dollars in student loan debt relief per nurse.  Governor Wolf has designated that five-million-dollars be made available for the program. He’s also asked the legislature to increase that amount by 35-million as part of a larger initiative. The deadline for licensed nurses to apply is March 1st. 

The suspect driver accused of causing a fatal accident early yesterday morning in Washington County is in jail this morning.  Police report that 48-year-old Leandre Woods was drunk and driving his truck the wrong way on I-70 when he struck a vehicle being driven by 32-year-old Jocelyn Vith.  Vith was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital where she later died.  Police say that Woods fled the accident scene on foot but later surrendered to officers and admitted to spending four hours drinking in a local bar before causing the accident.

Pennsylvania based Sheetz says it plans to upgrade 70 percent of its convenience store locations in the Keystone State with solar power.  The company plans to partner with Constellation, the nation’s leading supplier of clean energy solutions, on a long-term renewable energy supply agreement.  Sheetz says it hopes by 2024 to receive nearly 110-million kilowatt-hours of energy per year at those locations, reducing their carbon footprint by 78-thousand tons.

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan is receiving a boost this week in his campaign for the U.S. Senate.  The Ohio Democratic Party on Thursday endorsed his bid for the party’s nomination.  The primary vote is scheduled for May 3rd.  Ryan currently represents Ohio’s 13th Congressional District, but is hoping to replace retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman in the Senate.

Demonstrators in Harrisburg have been calling for the state to bar gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano from the Pennsylvania primary ballot. They also want a related investigation into whether U.S. Representative Scott Perry should also be barred as well. The demonstrators say those actions are called for based on what they say are the candidates’  “insurrectionist”  moves involving the January 6th, 2021 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. The demonstrators are part of a national group that wants to bar former President Trump and Trump-associated candidates from future elections because of their roles in efforts to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Penn State is considering a hike on room and board costs.  University leaders have proposed a three-and-a-half percent increase beginning next school year.  The higher rate would mean around two-hundred-12 dollars more per semester.  The plan was approved by trustees yesterday and is expected to go to the board for a final vote today.